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GM and Ford Knew, Too: Reporting Reveals Auto Giants Recognized Looming Climate Crisis in 1960s—and Helped Bury Reality

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/10/26/gm-and-ford-knew-too-reporting-reveals-auto-giants-recognized-looming-climate-crisis

They buried reality. One can bury a bomb as deep as humanly possible and still it can stay dormant until the conditions come when it will blow up. It’s always simply a matter of time. One can be in denial until reality forces them to experience otherwise. When it comes to climate change the big ‘deniers’ are fossil fuel and animal agriculture industries. Unless these are addressed and resolved the worst is yet to come. Deny it as much as humanly possible. It’s simply a matter of time.


Jamie Henn, director of Fossil Free Media told Common Dreams, “GM and Ford knew their cars were fueling a climate crisis. Deaths from air pollution could have been prevented if these automakers committed to ‘all-electric’ back in the 1970s. These reports drag automakers to the center of the climate fight. It puts pressure on them to support climate legislation and regulation of auto emissions. GM and Ford have a choice to make. They can get swept away with Exxon and Chevron or embrace a clean energy future by going all-electric.”

BULLSHIT. All-electric EVs (all-battery and hydrogen fuel cell) are a fraud that GM & Ford know is impossible. They know that plug-in hybrid - even burning fossil fuels - offers the most benefits, advantages, applications and potential to reduce CO2 emissions and fucking insane traffic than all-electric BEVs like the Tesla ‘S’ sedan (the most over-rated EV on the road). Yet, GM & Ford are cancelling their plug-in hybrid models to maintain and increase automobile dependency and their source of income and control.

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I wonder if former GM scientist Ruth Reck tried to raise government and public awareness at the time of her incredibly serious findings - or if she fell in line to keep that well-paying GM job.


Ford and GM are no longer the leading producers.

How many more millions of automobiles are fabricated, painted and assembled with a gasoline engine every year.

These do not disappear the next year, to be replaced. They are additive. And the exhaust fumes are addative.

The answer is to reduce automobile traffic in the cities. Do a pilot program in Chicago over 6 years. No more gas or diesel auto, SUV or pick up trucks will be sold to Chi residents. Existing ownership may drive two days per week with exception for groceries and pharmacy only. Electric passenger vehicles and small delivery trucks charge over night at a reduced meter rate. Visitors from Michigan will park gas and diesel vehicles in Indiana, for example, and ride the train into town. Or use Amtrak.


It is even more blatant: " General Motors’ EV1 appeared on American roads in 1996, the same year the auto industry successfully lobbied against a mandate from the California Air Resources Board to make more electric vehicles. The model was canceled in 2003 ,CNN. These cars were leased you could not buy one and the leasors loved them, their performance was excellent. They were roundly pissed when the companies cancelled the leases and took them back. It is assumed they were scrapped. There is film about that called, “Who killed the electric car”.

Let’s go back further, early 20th century many larger US cities had extensive trolley networks. GM pressured many to substitute their diesel busses for the trolleys. The deal was they had to get rid of the trolleys, to get the bus deal. This was done in some cases by partial ownership of city transit companies. " Between 1938 and 1950, National City Lines and its subsidiaries, American City Lines and Pacific_City_Lines)—with investment from GM, [Firestone Tire], [Standard Oil of California](through a subsidiary), Federal Engineering, [Phillips Petroleum], and [Mack Trucks]—gained control of additional transit systems in about 25 cities. from Wikepedia


The LA Times ran an article years ago titled “The 500mpg Solution” about the potential of plug-in hybrid PHEV tech. Imagine a plug-in hybrid that could get 500mpg on “combustible hydrogen” whose exhaust is water vapor. Imagine PHEVs running on so-called “renewable” fuels - bio-fuels, alcohol, methane. Hydrogen in a fuel cell must store at much higher pressure, causing loss and dangerous overheating. Hydrogen in an ICEngine hybrid drivetrain is safer and more practical. Corporate assholes are cancelling plug-in hybrids because they’re safer, last longer, get in fewer accidents, match to solar rooftop arrays more readily than the Tesla ‘S’ road lizard.

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I believe that’s a Mercedes Benz car in the picture not a GM or Ford vehicle. That being said, vehicle emissions only account for a relatively small part of the climate problem, especially compared to animal agriculture which emits far more greenhouse gases. I think there’s some room for improvement in making vehicles more efficient especially if Americans could get over their large SUV and pick-up truck obsession.

If there was the political will to do it and the infrastructure in place - which there isn’t - I doubt getting rid of all gas or diesel powered vehicles on the road is going to solve our climate problem at this point. Because humans have done such a poor job of managing the limited resources this planet has I think we’re just prolonging the inevitable taking these small steps to try to mitigate the damage man has caused, I hate to say it.

The GM EV-1 was kind of a crappy car. It’s battery pack in the first 2 years was lousy. The replacement was better, but it was a tiny subcompact and its effective mileage was about 70mpg. The Chevy Volt gets an effective 150mpg. GM could have saved a few EV-1, but it was short on innovation.

i’ve posted this numerous times, but i knew. As a grade school child in the 1960s, i knew. Certainly, any scientist paying any attention knew the basics of “the greenhouse effect.” All the major industrial corporations had scientists on their payrolls.

Our 4th grade class was shown a documentary film made in 1958 (!), one of a series of educational films produced for television by Frank Capra (!) for Bell Labs (a major industrial corporation), all starring Frank Baxter as “Dr. Research.” This film was titled The Unchained Goddess, about meteorology, the science of weather (referencing Meteora, the goddess of weather).

In one scene, Dr. Research explains that “Even now, Man may be unwittingly changing the world’s climate through the waste products of his civilization. Due to our release through factories and automobiles every year of over 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, which helps air absorb heat from the sun, our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer.” To which his lab assistant asks, “This is bad?” Dr. Research answers, “Well, it’s been calculated that a few degrees rise in the Earth’s temperature would melt the polar ice caps. And if this happens, an inland sea would fill a good portion of the Mississippi Valley. Tourists in glass-bottomed boats would be viewing the drowned towers of Miami through 150 feet of tropical water. For in weather, we’re not only dealing with forces of a far greater variety than even the atomic physicist encounters, but with life itself.

Referenced global warming clip: ~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gCHVTQ2fLM0
Full film: ~https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1ph_7C1Jq4

So sick of the dense fog that has been spewed by professional apologists and deniers, but please get over the fact that “they knew.” OF COURSE THEY FUCKING KNEW. They chose their short-term profits, and their longer-term profitable position of oligopoly in the industrial economy, over humanity, civilization, and ecology.

Instead of ramping down annual carbon emissions from the astonishing 6 billion tons referenced by Dr. Research in 1958, in 2019 “we” set a new record, releasing 37 billion tons of CO2 to the atmosphere from fossil fuels.

And instead of ramping up and elaborating the science and ecology education of children in school, the insane corporatists and their evangelical tools funded and oversaw the long-term undermining of educational curriculum in the USA, leading to the gleeful mass ignorance that feeds Trumpism today.

(When i was 12 years old - partly inspired by thinking that had developed from seeing this film, but also by loads of other input including the first Earth Day in 1970, and reading the book The Closing Circle by Barry Commoner in 1971 - i decided i would never drive a car or fly in an airplane. 16 years later i changed my last name to Walker.)


President Lyndon Johnson was a democrat. He was given a report predicting climate collapse over fifty years ago. He chose instead to make war on Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia to prevent them from becoming communist dominoes.

Repeat. Democrats have had an accurate picture of global climate collapse for fifty-five years. That’s partly why I voted socialist.


Humanity seems to learn in only one way, the hard way -through suffering. And suffer we inevitably shall. Alas, as usual the poor shall suffer first, and hardest. Increasing drought and flood damage causing higher food prices. Increasing hurricane damage causing higher home insurance premiums. Rising sea levels due to polar ice melt causing coastal land flooding thus less land to live on for an ever increasing global population. Survival of the wealthiest…? Considering such prospects what would a lover of mankind such as Jesus choose to drive? Or would he drive at all? For our sake he might choose mostly a bicycle, I imagine.


Well, maybe we should have a businessman run the country. Oh yeah, we just did over the last four years. Some of us knew better but were outvoted.

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The “baby steps” we are taking to wean ourselves from fossil fuels has to change to “long strides.”
Maybe that means profiteering must go as well. Damn, that leaves caring and sharing the obvious go to choice.
What are the odds that that happens in the lives of us over 70 crowd?


Didn’t US taxpayers just bail out GM getting nothing in return for the effort? Paying the executioner.


in the late 1990s?
my 2015 Honda civic only gets 25 mpg.

Average Annual Miles per Driver by Age Group

13,476 is the total average of miles driven in one year by an American.
/ 52 weeks a year
259.15 miles per week
/ 7 days in a week
37.02 miles per day.

Could you provide some data (reference links) to help your comments, thanks.
I am genuinely interested in your alternative ideas but need more information.

Modern industrial society should NOT wean itself completely off fossil fuels.
Plug-in hybrid PHEV tech minimizes CO2 emissions to less than 20% what we emit today. The real problem is that we drive too much, too far, for too many purposes. The more we drive, the more our cars must be replaced. Planned obsolescence. Planned accident tally and replacement. Planned high insurance premiums. Planned absence of travel by other mode systems and planned economies dependent upon driving and flying and trucking and shipping the longest distances for fun and profit and humanity’s end game suffering starving to death.

You hint at a few of the acceptable no-no-, and of some alternatives.
Food for thought when considering weaning off of fossil fuels is the massive plastics industries. Much of that also pollutes our environment.
We seem reluctant to invest heavily in alternatives though.

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A question to pose to those still denying there evidence of AGW and that it all a hoax.

If GM and Ford and Exxon knew about this in the 1960s how the hell did they know it would all be a hoax?


I have to ask this: Where is the electricity to charge electric vehicles derived?